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PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaBuchheitflag(Photo: Inverted US flag)A recent Gallup poll found that less people would vote for a socialist than for an atheist, a Muslim, or an evangelical Christian. Media-numbed Americans still believe that "government is the problem." Yet evidence keeps pouring in that free-market capitalism treats public safety as a profit-killer, dismisses environmental issues as irrelevant to business, and eliminates jobs to please investors.

Reports from the past six months show that the ongoing record of capitalist greed and irresponsibility has plunged to new lows.

1. Mocking Public Health and Safety

It's disturbing enough that Volkswagen and Ford and General Motors and other auto companies rigged emissions tests and took safety shortcuts to save money; and that the Southern California Gas Co. lied about its poisonous sulfur levels; and that Exxon was found to be hiding its own climate change research for four decades; and that tens of thousands of government-subsidized abandoned mines have been left to pollute our waterways.

But Monsanto, which proclaims "We are committed to long-term environmental protection," sued the State of California for trying to protect its citizens from the company's toxic materials.

2. Showing Contempt for Workers

The sharing economy has created companies that promote worker 'independence' while denying them health and retirement benefits, sick pay, overtime pay, and vacation pay. It's not a new capitalist idea. Merck and Out Magazine are among the companies that have "outsourced" employee positions to independent contractor positions, either by a mass layoff or by selling part of the company, after which former employees could be hired back at lower pay and without benefits.

Companies like American Express and AT&T have gone a step further with "individual arbitration" clauses, which effectively prohibit class-action lawsuits, the only economically feasible way for defrauded employees and customers to fight back against corporate malfeasance. Legal expert Brian T. Fitzpatrick explained, "Without a class action, if someone loses $500, they will not be able to do anything about it."

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaCorncobs 0311wrp(Photo: Sam Fentress)A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Monsanto Co. by the widow of a prominent Cambria, California farmer alleging that Monsanto had known for years that exposure to glyphosate—the main ingredient in the agribusiness giant’s flagship weedkiller Roundup—could cause cancer and other serious illnesses or injuries.

The lawsuit, which seeks wrongful death and punitive damages, was filedtoday in Los Angeles federal court by attorneys Michael Baum, Cynthia Garber and Brent Wisner of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. of Kennedy & Madonna on behalf of Teri McCall.

Teri McCall claims Roundup caused her husband of 40-years, Anthony Jackson “Jack” McCall, to develop terminal cancer after he used the herbicide on his 20-acre fruit and vegetable farm for nearly 30 years.

According to a press release from the law firms, Jack McCall was admitted to a hospital in September 2015 to treat swollen lymph nodes in his neck. He found out that same day that the swelling was caused by anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare and aggressive version of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Glyphosate, which is the most widely applied pesticide worldwide, was declared as “probably carcinogenic to humans” last March by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The organization also observed that non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other haematopoietic cancers are the cancers most associated with glyphosate exposure.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

March11 zelaya2In 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supported the military coup that overthrew democratically elected reformist President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras. (Photo: coolloud)

On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military overthrew the democratically elected and modestly progressive president, Manuel Zelaya. He was forced on a plane and sent into exile. 

wrote a commentary on June 30, 2009, raising the issue of possible US influence through leading members of the Honduran military, who were trained at what was formerly called The School of Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia. I stated: "You can bet your bottom dollar there were a few American hands behind what happened in Honduras.  We just can't say just yet who they belonged to."

Given information that has been revealed since 2009, we now know a lot more about the US support for the 2009 military coup. Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, didn't necessarily push the button that started it, but she was the Obama administration's most ardent advocate of keeping the military in power and preventing Zelaya from returning as a democratically elected leader.

The repercussions to Honduras of Clinton siding with the military have led to it becoming one of the most corrupt and violence-ridden nations in the world. They also reveal the deep contradiction between Clinton's espousal of democracy and the rights of women and children, and her neoliberal realpolitik interest in protecting the markets and profits of US-based corporations.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaaaaaaaaaacivilwarmarch10The Union and Confederate Armies may have signed an armistice in 1865, but the Civil War continues for the soul of the United States. (Photo: Alvin Trusty)

There is an uncivil Civil War taking place in the Republican Party.

In part, it is animated by whether the festering racism inherent in this nation's founding premise of white superiority -- a premise that fueled slavery and the decimation of Indigenous populations -- will resurface in a contemporary form of governance by bigotry.

Donald Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again," contains demagogic appeal. It is a coded call to "make America white again": to ensure that it is a nation characterized by white patriarchal rule, the oppression of people of color, the condoning of violence to resolve perceived grievances of white privilege, the use of torture, and all the trappings of white settler colonialism.

The Civil War ended more than 150 years ago, but an armistice was never signed concerning the conflict over white patriarchal privilege.

Here's the essential conundrum: The United States was founded -- and the Constitution was written -- by men who rejected the notion of a monarchy, but believed in a federal government that was elected and run by white males. It was also "unified" with the acceptance of slavery as a practice in half the nation, along with the belief that killing off the Indigenous population was a patriotic act of expanding white civilization.

2016.10.3 bf wasserman(Photo: Paolo)HARVEY WASSERMAN OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Seven top Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) experts have taken the brave rare step of publicly filing an independent finding warning that nearly every U.S. atomic reactor has a generic safety flaw that could spark a disaster.

The warning mocks the latest industry push to keep America’s remaining 99 nukes from being shut by popular demand, by their essential unprofitability, or, more seriously, by the kind of engineering collapse against which the NRC experts are now warning.

As of January 1, the world has more installed wind capacity than nuke. More than $360 billion was invested last year in renewables, dwarfing new reactor investments.

2016.10.3 bf abramsky(Photo: Gage Skidmore)SASHA ABRAMSKY FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

J'accuse....

For the past several months, I have written about Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and listened, in horror, as his positions have become evermore extreme and evermore publicly violent. Trump’s extraordinary comments come so fast and thick these days that they end up something of a blur. But they’re worth paying attention to, each and every one.

Trump has repeatedly advocated that he would change American law so as to make torture permissible and widely usable. He has repeated, gleefully, the much-disputed story of General Pershing ordering his soldiers to dip bullets in pigs’ blood and then summarily shooting dozens of Philippino terrorists, making it clear he favors similar measures against America’s enemies today. He has urged the collective, and violent, punishment of the families of terrorists. And, at one rally after another, especially in southern states where many in his audience remember the Jim Crow years with nostalgia, he has said he longs for “the good old days” when protestors could be beaten and when police would remove them from events “on a stretcher.” He has, repeatedly, said that he, personally, longs to smash in the faces of his enemies.

WENONAH HAUTER OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaBernieClimate(Photo: NASA)The Democratic debate Sunday night discussed important issues to our food and water, including the contamination of Flint, Michigan’s water supply and climate change. The fact that CNN allowed University of Michigan student Sarah Bellaire to ask the candidates whether or not they support fracking—bringing a real discussion about dirty fossil fuels to center stage—shows how large and influential our movement to ban fracking has become.

Bernie Sanders’ concise response after Hillary Clinton‘s long list of “conditions” that must be met in order for her to support fracking was met with thunderous applause: “My answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking.”

Watch here.

While the Obama administration—including Clinton herself as secretary of state—has been a staunch promoter of fracking, touting industry claims about energy security and that it could be a bridge to renewables, a growing movement is forcing Democratic leaders to acknowledge that fracking is bad for our environment and public health and a disaster for our climate.

COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaOrca(Photo: EcoWatch)Tilikum, the killer whale at the center of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, is in deteriorating health. SeaWorld’s teams are treating him for what they believe is a bacterial infection in his lungs, the company announced on its Facebook page Tuesday.

“We are saddened to report that over the past few weeks, Tilikum’s behavior has become increasingly lethargic, and the SeaWorld veterinary and animal care teams are concerned that his health is beginning to deteriorate,” the company said.

The 35-year-old male orca is not responding to treatment and “a cure for his illness has not been found,” SeaWorld said.

“Since Tilikum became a part of SeaWorld’s family 23 years ago, he has received the best in marine mammal health care and life enrichment available for killer whales—including a focus on his physical health, mental engagement and social activity with other whales,” SeaWorld said. “Despite the best care available, like all aging animals, he battles chronic health issues that are taking a greater toll as he ages.”

Tilikum, whose name means “friend” in Chinook, was captured from the wild in 1983 at the age of 2, according to Reuters. He came to SeaWorld 23 years ago from Sealand of the Pacific in Canada.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaaaaaaawaynelapierremarch9Caricature of Wayne LaPierre, CEO and executive vice president of the NRA. (Image: DonkeyHotey)

In a March 8 news release, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) charges the NRA with flouting IRS requirements to fully reveal political spending:

The National Rifle Association (NRA) failed to disclose more than $1 million in contributions to major Democratic and Republican leadership groups, bringing their total undisclosed political spending to nearly $60 million since 2008, according to a supplemental complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).  This is the third complaint CREW has filed regarding the NRA’s political spending scandal.Between 2008 and 2014, five 527 political organizations reported receiving more than $1 million from the NRA which the gun advocacy group failed to note.  These groups were the Democratic and Republican Governors Associations, the Democratic and Republican Attorneys General Associations and the Republican State Leadership Committee, with the vast majority of the funding going to the Republican organizations.  These donations increased as time went on, from nearly $55,000 in 2008 to more than $225,000 in 2014....

CREW’s initial complaint found that the NRA appeared to have violated federal law by failing to disclose to the IRS $33.5 million in political spending between 2008 and 2013.  CREW then supplemented this complaint after finding an additional $25 million the NRA failed to disclose in 2014.  While the NRA admits its tax records are incorrect, it appears to have done nothing to correct them.

An article on the CREW website points out that the implications of the NRA's politcal spending extend beyond the federal level and into the states.

2016.8.3 bf chow(Photo: ProgressOhio)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Ohio has become a major wastewater dump for the fracking industry, sparking fears of groundwater contamination and concerns that injection of wastewater into wells could trigger the same earthquakes currently rattling frack-happy Oklahoma.

The Columbus Dispatch cited new numbers from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) revealing that wastewater pumped into Ohio’s underground wells increased by more than 15 percent last year. In all, Ohio took in nearly 29 million barrels of fracking wastewater in 2015—4 million more barrels than in 2014, the Dispatch reported.

Thirteen million barrels of this wastewater came from states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia that have strict rules against wastewater injection. About 55 percent of the fracking wastewater that ends up in Ohio injection wells came from the state itself, the Dispatch said.

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